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How good is Pro E?


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I am relatively new to Pro E and was wondering how it compares to all the other programs out there. The other departments in my university use AutoCAD and Solidworks. I am the first to try to learn how to use Pro E. If it turns out to be a good program, it might become the new standard.

Also, how long did it take all of you to become comfortable with the program? I've been working with it for about five weeks and am still running into problems everyday.
First let me just say that this can be an easy yet complicated question to answer. I learned pro/e after having a prior education in designing (A.S. Degree) and experience with other CAD software like AutoCAD while on the job, and found it to be relatively easy to use after my PTC 5-day training course, for the basic usage.

Although it was easy for me, it may not be so for everyone, as i had a basis to reference when learning Pro/E and additional courses for more advanced techniques of Pro/E later on. It is easy to learn for the basic feature creation for parts and simple assembly of those parts for assy models, but other techniques and abilities of Pro/E (which are almost limitless, due to optional modules, add-ons that PTC provides) can be stressful for most to master, and only is fully appreciated over time and use. Simply won't be completely comfortable with Pro/E after just 5 weeks, but with some professional instruction and some simple design background knowledge, you could be using it right awayfor simple features...say 2 weeks worth of practice to get started.

As far as the comparison to other software like autocad and solidworks...Pro/E just does more than those can, from basic modeling to complex modeling, surfacing, parametric features, analysis, top-down design, design-checking, and company-wide functionality. Autocad alone can't do half of what i just mentioned. Although solidworks is a great mid-level modeling software, the only other software that compares are Catia, Unigraphics and IDEAS, which appear to be catching up to PTC in the company-wide functionality area. Hope this helps answer any questions.
iv been using proe for the past four years, two of which was at university. im just about to get started on wildfire which in all honesty, is looking more like a windows based option, more icons and less functionality to the orig hardcore proe user.

this is ptc's answer to moving into a market for the billgates empire!!

i have used autocad r13, r14 and 2000 and believe, proe is far more superior to any 2d based cad package.
What functionality is missing from Wildfire? I havent been using it for long so I am not sure what they have taken away.

I actually like it better than 2001.


is looking more like a windows based option, more icons and less functionality to the orig hardcore proe user.

this is ptc's answer to moving into a market for the billgates empire!!

I am working in ProE since 1996-97 and I still learning.

I have one question for you (nkpham)!

Do you want to learn ProE for yourself or for somebody on your university?

I love to work in ProE, and I can
If you are looking to compare Pro/E, SolidWorks and Autocad, I’ve used all three and SolidWorks is the hands down winner (I’m current using Pro/E at my Job now). AutoCAD is pretty much a dead product as far as mechanical design is concerned. They’ve been pushing the Mechanical Desktop overlay program for mechanical design, but it’s so slow and awkward, it just can’t compete. AutoCAD still has a market in architecture and companies too myopic to see the value of a real CAD package.

Pro/E has continued to lose more and more market share main because of engineers getting fed up with the bugs and work around. That’s mainly the downfall of all PTC products. They only work well in theory. I tend to encounter a bug or a problem with the program about every hour. Of course you get better at using and knowing the work-arounds over time. But everyday at my company I watch several engineers including our Pro/E administrator (you can’t really run Pro/E without an administrator), lose hours of work because of some new problem they found or a cut up to surface, ends up as through all cut or some other bug like that. Plus Pro/E is just a bear to use. If you have good CAD skill you can get up and running with basic knowledge fast, but it still doesn’t prepare you for the fact that about a third of the time the software doesn’t work as promised. If you use the interlink PDM, also add more bugs and about 50% to your design cycle.

I’m going to sound like a SolidWorks saleman here. But after having used SolidWorks for over 2 years and returning to Pro/E, it’s like going into the stone age. Everything works with SolidWorks. In the two years I used it, I think I called in on subscription tech support like 3 times (2 out of the 3 were my errors) and they solved my issues right away. It’s hard to describe the night and day difference between these two programs. Solidworks advertises that you can design 2X faster over Pro/E. I’d say this is conservative, especially when doing assembly models (there it’s more like 5X). SolidWorks does have it limits, but you only have to think about your design and not how to get the program to actually create your design (like in Pro/E). What Pro/E calls power is a lot of B.S. Power defined is Work/time. You just get way more work done faster in SolidWorks. And it’s so easy to use the powerful features, you actually use them.

Also you may check out SolidEdge. This is one of the only programs I’ve seen that’s really been able to go head to head with SolidWorks.
I just wanted to post a follow up to my post and that of gcook. The notion that SolidWorks is only a midrange CAD program that doesn't have the functionality of Pro/E is a bunch of B.S. In Solidworks, the sketcher is better, drafting is better, assembly modeling is WAY better, surfacing is better, and sheet metal is again WAY better. You might have been able to say that about Pro/E back in 1997 when SolidWorks first came out and much of the feature weren't there yet, but not today. With Pro/E you just pay more for less functionality. Only someone who nevered used SolidWorks can say that.
First let me say I have 2 yrs on Autocad, 9 yrs on Pro/E, 1yr Unigraphics, and recently started learning Solidworks.

Since you are a student and just getting started /exposed to all these different cad packages I think it's important that you realize first off that every designer/engineer out there has their own preference for a cad package and some of that preference is based partly on facts and partly on opinion.

Well NKpham, I just have to rebut about everything Jonathani has said about Pro/E , particularly about bugs and workarounds. If anyone wants to talk about bugs let's talk about Unigraphics... biggest piece of *%# I've ever used. In the 9 years I've worked on Pro/e at 4 different companies and I can only remember encountering a few bugs. If Jonathani is encountering problems every hour I find that really hard to believe. The guys in our department call our administrator maybe once a year and NEVER have issues with features changing attributes all on their own!! Never heard of such a thing! Also if Pro/E is losing market share it's certainly not because of engineers getting fed up with the bugs and work around, it would be because it is a high end cad package with a high end price tag. Some companies don't need all the functionality you get with Pro/E and therefore opt for a good midrange cad package (which Solidworks appears to be) which alse sells for about 1/4 the price of Pro/E.

I learned Pro/E on my own like yourself and I'd say after 2 weeks I was modelling and detailing parts. However, I had a couple of designers I could go to for help when I encountered a problem, which was a help. I would say I was comfortable with the program after 6 months, not proficient. As gcook stated, with all the modules and functionality built in you seriously have to use the software for a long time and for many different purposes before you could claim to be proficient in all the modules. I would consider someone with 2 years experience to be someone who should be reasonably proficient at all the basics of modelling, assemblies, family tables, surfacing, detailing. I also found the menus logical and efficient and never felt like I was wrestling with the software to get it to do what I wanted.

There are very few things I don't like about Pro/E and I would say in the two weeks I've used Solidworks I've seen a few things I don't like. The ability to place a hole without locating it and the sketcher still needs some work to get to Pro/E levels of efficiency. But overall it seems okay from what I've seen of it so far. Looks and feels a little like a Pro lite if you will.

In the end nkpham I would suggest you learn both if you can because that knowledge will definitely increase your pool of potential employers.

As for Solidedge, I'd steer clear of that.
Ok, without adding too much more fuel to the fire, I would say that botrando has hit the nail on the head. Every designer/engineer does have their own preferences (witness the comments by Jonathani as an example) I have used Pro/E since version 19, and it has come a long way in terms of ease of use.

I myself am starting to learn SolidWorks from scratch without any professional training, and I can understand your frustration. If you are used to another CAD package, it can take a bit longer to get over those initial hurdles, rather than if you started without any exposure to any CAD software, that is just human nature. But just keep at it, and after a while you will start to fly on Pro/E. If you are still having trouble, there are a few books out there that are pretty good, look at And let us not forget forums such as Pro/E Central where you have access to a veritable endless pool of user experience.

As far as the whole SolidWorks - Pro/E debate, it is definitely a matter of preference. In working on both CAD packages, I would say as far as the simple modelling is concerned, the 2 are about even, however when you start the more advanced modelling methods Pro/E comes out ahead.
I kinda understand where Jonathani is coming from. I have encountered problems with Pro E that comes from not knowing the program very well. I don't know about every hour though. After going through the tutorials, I was able to do mostly all the simple modelling things that I needed it to do. Extruding and cutting simple objects was pretty easy to learn. The things that I was amazed with about Pro E was that there are things that I think a CAD program should be fundamentally able to do.

For example, the 2 projection datum curve feature shold allow you to use the equation feature for projections. It is odd that you have to create a datum curve using the equation feature, then trace it through sketcher for the 2 projection part. It would be nice if these features could be combined, but I understand that Pro E is a very large and complicated program that can not expect to have all their kinks worked out.

The second major hurdle I've run into (and I still can't solve) is that once you create a 3d curve, you should be able to simply right click on the curve and change the starting point reference. It gives you a default, which can sometimes be very annoying. I need to use the actual length feature and it is a pain to find out how long the curve is, and subtract the length I originally was trying to reference to find the new length. This is really annoying, but like I said before, I don't expect Pro E to work out all their kinks (although that would be very nice).

Thank you all for all your responses. Although I seem to have touched on a very sensitve issue, I am glad to hear the extreme beliefs from both sides. It helps to know that I am not the only person, and am not using the only program, to find annoying kinks in it.
I work both Pro/E and SolidWorks.

Pro/E is vastly superior, SW is like a toy in comparison - granted haven't used SW 2003 much.

SW sketcher sucks, it's easy to use if you don't care about any design intent (good for amatuers and beginners ??) but I waste so much time fighting the friggin' sketcher assumptions to get what I need.

Pro/E can handle both 2-D & 3-D scenarios - SW can't. SW doesn't. Pro/E can create datums-on-the fly, SW can't. Pro/E has layers in assy & part mode as well as drawing mode, SW doesn't. Pro/E has datum-curves, SW doesn't. In Pro/E you can shetch multiple loops and generate features off of these, SW can't.

As for SW assembly, anyone understand mate groups ??

SW is gimmicky cashing in on Pro/E deficiencies (mainly price, arrogant tech support, sketcher & windows stuff), but if there's anyone at PTC with the slightest vision then they'll steamroller SW.
while pro may be full of bugs and i have yet to get a demo where solid works can do a split in a mold design.

you can get there eventually but for my money proe is the hands down leader.

if you wanna design a mouse than solid works will prolly do it for ya but ive seen it fail on simple things as well and pro might not be the fastest but it blows solid works out of the water in that dept.

ease of use is the LAST thing that concerns me i want functionality period. and that is what pro has.

end of thread
From Texaspete,

I have both, I have used both and if I were to give someone advised on starting a CAD business - Buy Pro/E. Solidworks - I can't make a profit on. SW has the limitations as mentioned by dougr. Pro/E makes me money and above all - if forces people to design with some logic. I can take any file and after a few minutes I can understand how he design the part - how I can include my changes and feel comfortable about modification. As far as price - everything is negotiable. If you want to pay full price - see me, if not - call several VAR's and get the best price. AS time goes on - you will greatly value the parametrics, the ablility to cut solids with surface(s). Pro/e has placed great imphases on data integrity, A user can not save a file that has a failed feature - he can only supress it. At my business - Suppressed feature have to be explained and approved before data is placed into Intralink. Via 3D Design & Engineering Co. Holland Mi. spent its money wisely on Pro/e.

What are you thinking on? The product or ease of use. Of course, at least upt to 2001 proe version, to build a simple piece is far easier in Solid Works, but do more complicated things and you would love Proe.

Moreover, test behavioural modeller and you would find a marvelous tool for design, also promechanica is pretty simple for achieving confident results.

Learning curve for proe is long and is the basis for criticism but are not more than fears due to incompetency.

I've worked with both tools and from my point of view they don't have the same purpose, even, the election for a company depends on the product they are to produce. For example Mechanism simulations are easy in SW, even many companies have selected this product due to this feature, of course many other products fit better with Proe.

For a student or an engineer, knowledge is added value so work with many tools is good, also the comparison is based on own experience. Pro E is for PROfessional Engineers (My point of View)

Just because Solidworks is easy to sketch with doesn't mean it's easy overall.

Users still have to be able to understand and control constraints, external refs etc.

With all the blinkin' assumption SW (and intent manager too) makes for you leaves users (particularly new users) with the fantasy belief that constraints (relations in SW terms) are irrelevant.

It's almost a law of physics that the easier a software is to use the more assumptions it makes and subsequently the less control a user has.
At this juncture in my career, I think Pro-E is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you are doing full blown product development of appliances, automotive, aerospace, and so on , it will(with a good unterstanding of math/geometry and physics) do almost anything you want it to do. SolidWorks is great for tooling, manufacturing and fundamental development efforts but it lacks in areas that would make it appealing for automotive efforts. To actually compare them, apples to apples, is engineering blasphemy in my view. If you need the total functionality of CAD for Industrial Design conversions, Surface Modeling, FEA, Motion Analysis, and interface to manufacturing then you really should look no further. It is all there in Pro-E.

SolidWorks has it’s merit and I have seen it used very successfully in particular in Manufacturing evironment and low end Industrial Design firms. But even people I work with in these areas submit to the limitation of the product.

People often forget where we are in this technology. When I got out of college about 15 years ago the major CAD packages , apart from AutoCAD, slugged along on VAX workstations and slurped along for up to 20 minutes or more just to create a shaded model. CAD on the 3D level is still in it’s infancy and I think the next five years will lead to some even more cool stuff. More cool stuff means innovation and Pro-E is the clear leader in this area. I very seldom have problems with Pro-E in regards to crashes, serious glitches, lock ups and so on. It rocks on very well.

I took a semester of classes in the basics(I recommend this as compared to the week long whirlwind tour) and it took me about a month to really get a grip on everything involved. I am still learning things.

I am not going to tell you that Pro-E is easier to learn than anything else. It takes some time. But when you get it and the light is turned on, it is the cat’s meow.

Just my two cents, and no, I do not have stock holdings in either. Nor do I work in sales of either product.(although they should give me a free license for my plug)
I'll have to agree with everyone when it comes to what Pro E can do. One of the major reasons I am having trouble is that I don't think the Pro E was made with bridge modeling in mind. It has been great for all the things you all have mentioned, but as I've noticed, no one is mentioning bridge design in their speals. Things that should be simple to find in bridge modeling tools is no existent or hard to find in Pro E. I am in no way faulting Pro E with this problem since I'm sure that most of its users are using it for some other purpose.
I have been using Proe for about 3 Years now whereas in the beginning I didn't like it so much like, whereas many users fall in love with such Systems like I-DEAS, which have such a sexy looking interface and where the first steps in using it are very easy. I have started with low - or midrange programs like Mechanical Desktop from Autodesk, where I had to realize that it is simply unable or uneconomic in performing higher feature creation tasks. The kernel works too slow and proe uses far better algorithms than both Mechanical Desktop or I-DEAS. In Mechanical Desktop You also can do wild surfacing but it is not recorded in the history and therefore not parametric. Pro/Engineer for me is so far the most innovative, fastest and most powerful CAD-package I have ever encountered. But while the world is ruled by mediocrity propably faulty programmed Tools like Unigraphics would win the market.
im a former ptc consultant and have really studied the sw vs. pro/e issue. one of the big issues behind sw without getting into its usability is the graphics kernel.

SW does not have its own kernel. SW uses parasolids. this is owned by unigraphics as many of you may know. some other companies that are using parasolids are solidedge, designwave, ironcad and of course unigraphics.

ptc has its own graphics kernel (granite).

why is this important? lets say new functionality is needed or wanted by the customer or the developer, which is more likely. in order for ptc to make that change to the pro/e core graphics kernel they go to one source, PTC.

lets say that SW wants to change or add functionality to suit future needs. they have to go through an approval process with unigraphics and all the other companies currently using parasolids. this is not a very easy thing to do. i've seen pro/e replace seats of solidworks for this reason alone. what good is ease of use if the functionality is not there.

one more thing to add would be SW not being UNIX based. where I work we have both SUN machines and NT's. our assemblies on average range from 1000-3000 components. this requires us to run 64-bit mode and with simp. reps. things run quite smoothly. point being, SW could not handle the size assemblies we have. no way, no how.

what good is ease of


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